Panel Paper: The Secular Decline In Business Dynamism In the US

Friday, November 9, 2012 : 9:45 AM
Mencken (Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

John Haltiwanger, Department of Economics, University of Maryland, Ron Jarmin, U.S. Census Bureau, Javier Miranda, Center for Economic Studies, US Census Bureau and Ryan Decker, University of Maryland

The Great Recession exhibited the lowest overall rate of gross job creation and job creation from business startups since at least 1980.  There is also an accompanying downward trend in the pace of business dynamism in the U.S. as exhibited by a declining pace of job creation and job destruction.  The latter is accounted for by a declining trend in job flows for continuing firms as well as a declining trend in business startups and shutdowns.  In this paper, we document the secular changes in business dynamism in the U.S. over the last few decades and explore potential explanations for the cyclical and secular changes.  The existing literature shows that U.S. productivity and job growth has been very much associated with robust, productivity enhancing creative destruction.   An open question is whether the secular decline in business dynamism along with the especially large decline in business startups in the Great Recession will have adverse consequences for U.S. innovation, job and productivity growth in the future.   Only time will answer this latter question but our documenting the facts and exploring potential explanations sheds light on the changing nature of business dynamism in the U.S.